The Winter Meetings wrapped up in Florida this afternoon and the Los Angeles Dodgers were eerily quiet. Talks surrounding the four outfielders was rampant while Ned Colletti discussed deals with agents and teams.
As of now, the Dodgers don’t have a third baseman, have a very weak bench, Josh Beckett is their fifth starter at the moment and they still need to add more to the bullpen. Obviously, doing nothing at the Winter Meetings isn’t a cause for concern, but expect the action to continue for at least the next few weeks.
While the shopping list remains the same, here are some ideas the Dodgers could entertain as the off-season progresses.
Talks surrounding outfielder Matt Kemp were rampant in Orlando and while there was interest from as many as four teams, Colletti reportedly assured his agent Dave Stewart that he won’t be moved this winter. Whether the Dodgers look to deal Kemp during the Spring is another story as they could show him off to other teams.
Still, I think the Dodgers outfield situation gets sorted out in the coming week and a source told me last night that if the Texas Rangers fail to sign outfielder Shin-Soo Choo or re-sign Nelson Cruz, look for an Andre Ethier-Elvis Andrus deal. In that scenario, Hanley Ramirez would move over to third base while Alexander Guerrero can play his natural position of shortstop.
However, that can all be for naught if Juan Uribe decides to return, but it sounds like he wants a two-year deal while the Dodgers would rather give him one-year guaranteed with an option for the second.
Sure, the Dodgers could also hang onto all four outfielders to guard against injury, but it seems unlikely they’d like to answer questions all season long about who the odd man out is.
If the 2014 season were to start right now, Josh Beckett would be the Dodgers number five starter. I don’t anticipate that being the case come March and the Dodgers were linked to both Tampa Bay Rays ace David Price and Japanese sensation Masahiro Tanaka. Early reports suggested the Dodgers and Rays were matching up on a trade, but it isn’t known if they’ll seriously part with their top prospects.
Meanwhile, Tanaka’s posting remains in limbo and while there are conflicting reports about the Dodgers reported interest, it wouldn’t be surprising if they add one of these two starters. Until the Tanaka domino falls, the market for starting pitchers will continue to be frozen as Colletti will hopefully add another arm.
Signing Brian Wilson was a great first step, but Colletti talked about wanting to add three more relievers. Jamey Wright is reportedly deciding between the Dodgers and Rays, but there hasn’t been a resolution to that situation.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers would like to bring lefty J.P Howell back next season, but he’s reportedly making progress with the Colorado Rockies. If Howell leaves, Boone Logan or Scott Downs could be alternate options.
At the moment, the Dodgers bench consists of Scott Van Slyke, Dee Gordon, possibly Mike Baxter and that’s about it. Michael Young is still on the Dodgers radar for some reason and Mark Ellis could come back as a reserve. Until the Dodgers figure out their infield situation, it’ll be tough to gauge what other insurance they need on the bench.
Sometimes the best deals are the ones that aren’t made and their decision to not deal Kemp is wise. Selling low doesn’t make sense and if healthy, he’s a perennial MVP candidate. Still, trading an outfielder makes the most sense and Ethier is most likely the odd-man out due to his relatively “cheap” contract in comparison to Kemp and Carl Crawford.
A decision surrounding Howell could come to a resolution quickly and adding another reliever or two is realistic once Grant Balfour and John Axford come off the board.
While the Dodgers don’t have many holes to fill, how they approach all the different aspects of their team in the coming months will be fascinating to watch.
ICYMI: The Dodgers and Brian Wilson agreed to a one-year deal last week